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Doc Ross exhibition opens at Canterbury Museum

Doc Ross exhibition opens at Canterbury Museum

Doc Ross

Canterbury Museum in collaboration with the Christchurch Arts Festival will open a stunning photographic exhibition this month featuring the works of renowned photographer Doc Ross.

Opening on 22 August, the exhibition, 37, will feature the portraits of 37 people whose lives have been affected by Canterbury’s devastating earthquakes.

As a collection, the photos condense the aftermath of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, and reflect a personal side of the moment Christchurch City changed forever. As the title suggests, the exhibition features 37 photo portraits, each taken over 37 seconds with the subjects’ individual earthquake stories expressed in 37 words. The result is an intensely emotional and revealing exhibition. As Doc Ross describes it: ‘This is a collection of portraits of 37 affected people and their stories, edited down to just as many words as there were seconds of shaking.’

37 is on at Canterbury Museum from 22 August to 3 November. For more information see

From the photographer:
It is impossible to say exactly how long the earth shook for on 22 February 2011 as it was different for us all depending on where we were in the city.

However 37 seconds was a pretty good general figure, according to the only reliable source I could find that would commit to suggesting a time people might have felt the shaking. 37 seconds doesn’t sound very long, until you start to count it out, one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three..... Suddenly it seems an eternity, an eternity when time stands still but the earth heaves and shakes violently.

This is a collection of portraits of 37 people I know and their stories edited down to just as many words as there were seconds of shaking. I asked them to sit totally still for a few minutes while I made a portrait of them that encapsulated 37 seconds of time, and then asked them to write, in 37 words, their experience of, thoughts from, or anything they wanted to write about those 37 seconds of shaking.

It is my hope that these unmasked, intense and revealing portraits, along with those condensed experiences of the moment our city changed forever, will remind us how effecting an event like this is.

Many thanks to the people who participated in this project; it is no small thing to expose oneself like this. These portraits are basically unposed, here the sitter is simply asked to sit, support their head and stare into the camera.

Christchurch photographer Doc Ross has traversed, surveyed and captured the landscape through his lens in all its altering seasons and environments since the 1980’s. Influences and subject matter for his work range from landscapes, urban observations and constructions, to personal and social commentary.

He lives in Christchurch New Zealand and has photographed extensively in Australia over the years. His work is in the collections of the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Australia, and many prominent private and corporate collections worldwide. He has exhibited in New Zealand, Melbourne, Sydney and, in 2002, his work was included in an exhibition of Contemporary Australian and New Zealand photography at Sothey's New York.


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